High Armour Rating, high threat generation and multiple defensive cooldowns – those are the key constituents defining a tank. It is the ability to get beaten for longer periods of time, attracting attention of various enemies at the same time (if needed) while not dying in that process. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
Shadows haven't been given as many cooldowns as Jedi Guardians for instance. However, ours are viewed (by many) as the strongest. What is a strong cooldown for though, when we either don't use it or use it at the wrong time? It is essential to learn which types of attacks we are facing in order to use our cooldowns efficiently. Once you master this, your healers will love you because popping a cooldown means you become literally immortal for its duration.
Deflection cooldown is the longer lasting one of our pair. It is extremely valuable against melee/ranged bosses and adds. It won't help us against Force or Tech damage though so don't waste it on these types of attacks. Also, notice the cooldown on this ability is 'only' 2 minutes. Use it when expecting huge burst of damage or when something unpredictable happens (healer dies, other tank dies, someone stands in fire and healers need to heal them up etc.). The important thing is to communicate with your healers because it helps them manage their resources. Note that this cooldown is very powerful since it elevates you to 80% dodge/parry/deflect chance (with at least Campaign gear level). When you know you won't need it for another 2 minutes, do not hesitate to use it even if there is no special danger - it would be a shame to waste such a precious ability for 3 minutes, waiting for something unexpected to happen, right? You have to know what you're doing though. ;-)
This ability, Resilience, is what makes us so valuable for certain mechanics! It grants us 100% resistance against Force and Tech attacks for 5 seconds with Mind Over Matter. With Elusiveness on top of it, we have this ability available very often. Once a Shadow learns to use Resilience properly (which includes knowledge of the fight and the type of damage done by particular boss), it's a win. I don't think it is necessary to further elaborate on its awesomeness - it is simply the best defensive cooldown in the game at the moment.
We need to have our stats well balanced to minimize our (Shadows) default squishiness because our armour doesn't grant us the highest damage reduction around. 'It's not fair, other tanks have heavy armour and I'm stuck with this weird tunic (not to mention sometimes even gay..).' In my next post, I will go through every single part of the term defense, because it consists of far more than just Defense Rating (shocking!). It will be far more complex and analytical, expect some numbers. Until then...